Best toys for newborns | BabyCenter (2022)

BabyCenter selects products based on the research of our editors and the wisdom of parents in the BabyCenter Community. All prices and details are accurate at the time of publication. We may earn a commission from shopping links.

Newborn babies can't see well, can't sit unsupported, and can't grab objects. But they still like being entertained and appreciate toys pitched at their developmental level. The key is to buy toys that can be used by babies at their current age and stage while encouraging further exploration and skill sharpening. Below, we’ve curated a list of favorites among Babycenter Community members and editors. You'll find our recommendations for the best toys for newborns through 3-month-olds, which help babies develop, learn, and have plenty of fun during those first few months.

  • Best newborn toy overall

    Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick & Play Piano Gym

    Promotes: Gross motor skills and sensory development

    Fisher-Price's Kick & Play consistently wins best-toy competitions because it's fun for babies at many ages and stages. Newborns can lie either on their back or their tummy while they try to grab the hanging toys and kick at the piano. Once your baby grows enough to use her hands purposefully, she can explore the toys attached to the mat's loops on her tummy. When she gets bigger still, the Kick & Play's piano detaches and can be used for musical games that teach colors, shapes, and numbers and even allow her to compose her own tunes.

  • Best book for newborns

    Indestructibles – Baby Faces

    Promotes: Social development

    Babies will stare in awe at the illustrated baby faces in this small, sweet little book that introduces the concept of emotions and the faces that accompany them. Even better, Indestructibles are made for babies to grab, pull, tear, chew, and drool on – they refuse to come apart, and if they get dirty, these waterproof books can be tossed in the washing machine.

  • Best travel toy for newborns

    Tiny Love Magical Tales Take-Along Mobile

    Promotes: Sensory development

    Babies can't see very far, so a mobile hanging from the ceiling high above may not grab their attention right away. This Tiny Love mobile, which nimbly fastens to just about any stroller, play yard, or bassinet, can be placed where your baby can see it but can't reach it. Three black-and-white big-eyed, smiling animal toys spin round and round, with the option of a continuous half hour of baby-friendly tunes to accompany them. For safety's sake, keep this out of your baby's reach – mobiles can be a strangulation hazard.

  • Best rattle toy for newborns

    Oball Bright Starts Easy-Grasp Shaker

    Promotes: Fine motor skillsand sensory development

    Rattles and shakers are classic baby toys because babies love to grab things with their newly operational hands, and are delighted with the noise they can make all by themselves. The perforations in the flexible Oballs make this shaker particularly easy to hold, and the rattling beads inside make a perfectly enchanting jangle.

  • Best teething toy for newborns

    Skip Hop Bandana Buddies Activity and Teething Toy

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    Promotes: Fine motor skills and tactile development

    All the critters in this popular collection of multifunction toys have a super-sweet expression that babies love, and they're super-easy for them to hold onto, too. At first, babies may just stare at their new friend and smile; as the weeks go on, they'll start exploring the toy's various features: squishy arms and legs and tails, textured whiskers and crinkly ears to tug on, a rattle on one paw, and a choice of two teethers.

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  • Best mirror toy for newborns

    Baby Einstein Flip for Art High-Contrast Floor-Activity Mirror

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    Promotes: Gross motor skills and visual development

    Getting babies to lift their heads during tummy time is a cinch with this sturdy mirror designed to sit solidly on its wide base and offer your baby a clear, undistorted view of his own wonderful face. Even if he bats at the baby-safe mirror or bonks it with his head, it resists falling over, and its fabric parts are full of high-contrast colorful patterns for your baby to admire. It also comes with a set of flip-through flashcards, complete with stroller link, to encourage cognitive development with bold patterns and images of objects, animals, and more.

  • Best sensory toy for newborns

    Melissa & Doug Flip Fish Toy

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    Promotes: Fine motor skills and tactile development

    Any toy that offers different textures and parts that move, like flipping back and forth, are toys that 2-month-olds will appreciate. Melissa & Doug's cheerful, beautiful fish toy is far from the ocean – cute and cuddly, every one of its scales offers a different experience in color, sound, and surface. If it gets dirty, just throw it in the washing machine.

  • Best educational toy for newborns

    Good Night, Gorilla Board Book

    Promotes: Language development and good sleep habits

    Your bedtime routine might be the same every night, but varying your storytime style a bit will keep your child interested, so consider changing the pitch of your voice, using an accent, singing, or otherwise shaking things up. It helps to have a storybook like this one, where a simple tale of a zookeeper saying goodnight to a zoo full of animals is illustrated with bright, beautiful pictures – and very few words, so you can easily change the flavor of the telling each time through.

  • Best lovey for newborns

    Hudson Baby Animal Face Security Blanket

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    Promotes: Tactile development

    A soft stuffy friend can be especially helpful anytime your baby needs a cuddle or gets upset, for example at bedtime, after they get startled, or when you're out at a new and overwhelming place. Hudson Baby's ultra-cushy security blanket comes with the sweet face of an animal friend attached: an elephant, as shown here, or 18 others, including a fox, a unicorn, and a narwhal. This particular set also comes with a cozy blanket that can be used for tummy time. Remember to remove all soft bedding and loveys from your baby's crib or bassinet before sleep.

  • Best tummy time toy for newborns

    Splashin' Kids Inflatable Tummy-Time Premium Water Mat

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    Promotes: Gross motor skills and sensory development

    Babies are mesmerized by this tummy-time mat, which you fill with tap water to make a soft and squishy surface babies can lean, rest, and roll on while they pat the sea creatures inside. If your baby resists tummy time, this may be one thing that'll make it palatable.

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  • Best developmental toy for newborns

    Fisher-Price Sit-Me-Up Floor Seat

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    Promotes: Gross and fine motor skills

    Your baby can't sit unsupported yet but desperately wants to, so gear that makes it possible is a winner that will bring gurgling baby smiles and laughter. This classic seat keeps your baby in an upright position so he can clearly see and reach for whatever toys you hook onto the seat's fabric loops, and gives your hands and arms a break if you've been doing a lot of holding duty.

  • Best musical toy for newborns

    Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical Toy

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    Promotes: Language and sensory development

    Even just-out-of-the-womb babies enjoy certain sounds and music, but as time goes on, he develops preferences as to what he'd really like to hear and when he'd like to hear it. Enter the Take Along Tunes toy, with buttons that allow him to play pleasantly lengthy selections of 10 classical songs. And the best news for Mom and Dad: there's a volume control, too.

  • Do you need toys for newborns?

    The answer to that question depends on your point of view. Newborns are fascinated by anything and everything around them, so you could make the case that babies will make their own toys. The importance of play, however, can't be overstated. It's crucial for your child's development, and she'll use all five senses to do it, especially in her first year.

    So though you don't need toys exactly for newborn babies, you do need a way to play with her, and toys make that easier. Toys for babies also enthrall with bright colors, intricate patterns, buttons and levers that respond to their touch, interesting noises, and varied textures.

  • What toys are suitable for newborns?

    Babies change so much in their first few months, so the toys they appreciate change quickly too.

    Best toys for babies under a month

    Sight and sound are the watchwords to keep in mind when looking for newborn toys. Newborns appreciate toys that are visually striking with high-contrast patterns, as well as those that move and make gentle noises.

    Her vision will be fuzzy at first and she'll fix on things that are about 8 to 15 inches from her eyes, though in the first month she'll only be able to see clearly up to about 12 inches. High-contrast patterns and bright colors captivate her simply because they're the easiest for her to see. She's also drawn to the human face – and can recognize yours at about 1 month – so will enjoy any toy that reflects her own face or has a representation of a face.

    She's already learned to appreciate sounds and soft music. Objects that move slowly and produce a gentle sound are far more interesting to her than those that are fixed and silent.

    Your baby's doctor will advise you to put your baby on her back to reduce the risk of SIDS, so when she's awake, you should put her on her tummy. Babies need this "tummy time" to strengthen their neck muscles, and may resist if they're not introduced to the position early, so toys that encourage tummy time are great for babies this age. During their first month, babies learn to lift their heads up and move them from side to side, so toys that encourage them to look up, ahead, and left to right are helpful, like a play gym with toys to gaze at, listen to, and bat and swipe. These give your baby practice coordinating arms, hands, and fingers as well.

    Babies are fascinated by the faces they see around them, and will spend long moments examining the face of anyone who holds them. Books and toys with faces, or those that encourage cuddling and closeness meet with newborn favor. Mobiles with contrasting patterns and books with images of babies' faces are perfect at this stage.

    Although babies can grasp objects by the time they're a month old, they won't be able to reach for an object until they're about 4 months old. In the meantime, if you want your baby to hold an object, you'll have to put it right in his hand.

    Best toys for 1-month-olds

    Some babies start to develop a fledgling sleep routine at around 6 weeks of age; others take until 6 months or longer to sleep between four to six hours at night (i.e., the dreamed-of "sleeping through the night"). Many experts suggest encouraging this routine by putting your baby to bed awake but drowsy, so he'll learn to fall asleep on his own. A bedtime routine, which often involves a bath, a bedtime story, cuddles, and perhaps a song, can be helpful.

    Babies are also getting more attentive to sounds, and pay attention when someone sings a favorite lullaby. They often enjoy the sounds of gentle bells, a ticking clock, or animal noises. Toys that take advantage of this new facility for sound are ideal, and the more varied the sounds, the better. You'll soon notice your baby has preferences for which sounds he likes best.

    Your baby's hands will be mostly open now, and he can hold things placed in his curious fingers' grasp. Once he grabs on, he might not want to let go, either, so make sure what he grabs is safe, with no sharp edges or detachable pieces. He's fascinated by toys with new textures: velvety, rough, or bumpy. And he's likely to especially love toys with pieces or flaps that move; if they make entrancing sounds, all the better.

    Best toys for 2-month-olds

    A 2-month-old's vision and tastes are more sophisticated than a newborn's, and now the early preference for bright or black-and-white objects begins to gives way to a love of more detailed and complicated colors, shapes, and designs. Your baby will want to handle a wide variety of objects: soft toys, stuffed animals, plastic rings, fabric tags.

    You may also notice that your baby mouths objects and drools all over everything. This doesn't necessarily mean your baby is teething – most babies get their first tooth between 4 and 7 months – but it does mean that pretty much any toy will end up in your baby's mouth, so it should be washable, or at least easy to clean.

    If you haven't already developed a bedtime routine, this age is a good time to start, since a soothing and predictable routine will help your child get and stay to sleep. The routine can include a bath, rocking, singing, a bedtime story, saying goodnight to people or objects . . . basically, whatever makes sense to your family. A "transitional object" like a blanky or a stuffed animal can be nice to cuddle with while you're getting them down; for safety, remember to remove any blankets, pillows, stuffies, or other soft objects from your baby's sleep space.

    Best toys for 3-month-olds

    Your baby can now wave her arms, bring both hands together, and curl and open her fingers. Her legs – and kicks – are also getting stronger: hold her upright with her feet on the floor and she's likely to push down with surprising strength.

    She can also reach for toys now, so make sure to keep anything dangerous out of sight. Your mobile, if you have one, should be moved well out of your baby's reach, too. Give your baby interesting things to hold: plastic or rubber rings, lightweight rattles, stuffed animals, squeaky toys. She'll appreciate varied textures, and will likely try to eat anything you give her, so make sure nothing will come apart in her mouth.

    When placed on her stomach, your baby will push up on her arms and lift her head and shoulders; she may even surprise you (and herself!) by rolling over back to front or vice versa. Toys that encourage tummy time will help babies develop this skill, the precursor to crawling.

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